Last year I made wine for the first time, half improvising, half following the instructions that came with a £30 winemaking kit off the internet, a few suitable instructables, some forums and the opinions of several winemakers. The result was Casa Freelands 2013 : Earwig Dreaming, named for the most startling bit of wildlife to emerge from the grape bag. Barbie Pink, sharp bordering on acidic, but nevertheless a potable brew. We drank all six bottles, the last one in late summer. It probably peaked in May, although I had treated all the bottles differently, so it might just have been that June and July were in sterilised bottles (the best flavour came from the completely untreated bottles, then the boiled bottles, then the chemically sterilised bottles). It was strong, not something to drink half a bottle of. I made my original batch when I found that the juice I'd made by boiling the fruit for ten minutes had started to ferment in the fridge. Look at the bloom on those grapes! That yeast is good to 10%, and ferments fast and hard.
Of course, there is a problem with those grapes. Not very ripe. This year, I thought the entire harvest would rot ere it was ripe, shocked by cold and drenched by wet. It didn't, but you can see the brown here and there. It was a close run thing. Here's my home-vinting kit:
That muslin turns into a punch bag, and provides a yeast reservoir and the outrageous barbie pink colour. The pegs are an innovation for this year - helping with the straining of the must. The juice from the harvest bag looks a bit brown, but that's because the taint concentrates at the bottom of the bag; you can see the actual colour on the muslin. I wasn't sure I had ferment till the following morning, but there it was, going like the clappers, on its own yeast.
It was slowing yesterday, so I adjusted the sugar up and inoculated it with a sachet of tame yeast, to top up the wild. The flavour's holding so far, the colour steady on pink. But the ferment is already fading. I'll rack it at the weekend, unless the yeast finds a second wind.
And we shall have wine.